Private resort stirs passions in Utah
BEAVER, Utah ” Developers hoping to build a multibillion-dollar resort here have riled some residents by posting no-trespassing signs on roads leading to several lakes just before a county meeting on the project.
Some in Beaver County are looking forward to the ritzy Mount Holly Club for its economic boon, while others have concerns over public access and snobbish attitudes.
“It’s all Hollywood money, and we don’t need them coming in here with their Hollywood drugs and pornography,” said resident Margaret Wellman.
But not everyone in this southeastern Utah community opposes Salt Lake City developer CPB’s plan to redevelop the now-defunct Elk Meadows ski resort with extravagant homes and a posh club.
“Our elementary school here is in real trouble,” said Scott Robinson, who owns Beaver Drug in Beaver. “We need a new school and more teachers. So if the environmental concerns are addressed and laws and ordinances are followed, then I look at the project as something that could benefit the county.”
Either way, the proposed resort is the talk of this county of 6,400 people.
“It’s the biggest issue in the county that I can remember,” Robinson said.
The issue is expected to draw a crowd Wednesday night, when the county Planning Commission considers zoning changes and a development agreement for the $3.5 billion project.
The gated ski resort community would include 1,200 houses and town houses along with a 250,000-square-foot clubhouse to be built on 2,000 acres. The club also would include a private ski resort with 36 runs and an 18-hole private golf course. The project is expected to take 10 years to complete.
As a comparison, developer Bobby Ginn wants to build 1,700 homes and condominiums, a private ski resort and a golf course on more than 5,300 acres south of Minturn, on and around Battle Mountain.
Among Utah residents’ chief concerns are water rights and public access to areas like Puffer Lake. The group bought land near the lake to add to the ski area and recently no-trespassing signs were posted on roads leading to that lake and several others.
At least two of the signs have been removed and Bill Quick, a spokesman for Mount Holly, blames the markers on an overzealous employee.
Terry Krasco, head ranger at the Fishlake National Forest office in Beaver, explained that the agency has decades-old easements for roads that cross the private land now owned by Mount Holly and lead to public areas.
Krasco would not comment about the signs other than to say the Forest Service “plans to assert our rights of way.”
Quick maintains that the developers are committed to adhering to the approval process and building public trust.
“It’s important that we do this right,” Quick said. “There is nothing secretive about what we are doing. We want to be forthright.”